10/13/2007 - Go Green, Make Money
Cutting greenhouse-gas emissions could add more green to North Carolinians wallets, researchers at Appalachian State University have found.
Preliminary results of a study in progress indicate that proposed state policies meant to reduce global warming could also add jobs.
Researchers looked at the potential economic ripple effect of implementing 31 of the 56 measures a panel recommended this month, graduate student David Ponder said in presenting his findings Tuesday to state lawmakers.
They estimate that the Climate Action Plan Advisory Groups proposals, ranging from more stringent building codes to forest preservation, could create more than 328,000 jobs by 2020.
The policies could end up boosting the income of North Carolinians by more than $14 billion. Labor-intensive new forestry and agriculture practices would require more jobs, Ponder said, while more efficient energy use would provide another economic boost.
Because your energy bill is less, youre spending more money on other goods and services in the economy, he said.
The estimates dont take into account new industries that might spring up as the demand for renewable energy develops.
Thats where the real money can be made, Rep. Charles Thomas, R-Buncombe said, with WNC uniquely positioned to make it because of residents desire for eco-friendly living.
Whoever successfully taps into the market for renewables will print money, Thomas said Tuesday while attending his first meeting since being appointed to the Legislative Commission on Global Climate Change.
It will make the Alaskan economy with the (oil) pipeline look like some kind of lemonade stand, Thomas said.
The possibilities described Tuesday were more modest, in comparison to an overall state economy in which workers in 2004 made about $250 billion in 5 million jobs, Ponder said. But he said it shows that curbing climate change, far from hurting the economy, can actually add jobs.
The conservative John Locke Foundation said proposals that would raise taxes and energy costs wont help the states economy.
If youre going to have new industries and jobs are created there, what an economist would say is, where are those jobs going to be diverted from? said Roy Cordato, the foundations vice president for research.
The advisory group says adopting all of its recommendations would cut projected 2020 emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases by 47 percent, returning the emissions to 1990 levels.
The Appalachian State researchers will release a final report after predicting the effects of the advisory groups other recommendations, including state standards for auto emissions, on jobs.
The jobs created would be more stable for Western North Carolina residents than those in the tourism industry that now dominate the region, said UNC Asheville environmental studies professor Dee Eggers, another member of the legislative commission that will advise on which proposals should become law.
Eggers cautioned, though, that new careers cant flourish without new educational options.
We need to make sure people are trained to carry out these jobs, she said.
by Jordan Schrader, JSCHRADE@CITIZEN-TIMES.com
published October 24, 2007 12:15 am